A quick note: competitor #18, South Africa, originally scheduled to compete at the end of day one, isn’t here yet. Hopefully he’ll make it soon, and will be scheduled into the mix.
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF BELGIUM
Detlev, introducing himself as a freelance barista, begins his preparation by heating some milk and a bit of cream. Then he proceeds easily to his espresso preparation. I’m digging his serving tray, which is built around samples of his green coffee, and also smartly incorporate little holders for his cups (would help if his hands shake as he’s serving!). His blend is comprised of four Arabicas: natural Brazil, washed Ethiopian, Colombian, and Costa Rican. He’s very cool as he explains both the technical and sensory aspects of his coffee, equipment and techniques. He’s using a different blend for his cappuccinos: one with a higher percentage of Colombian. He returns to his espresso blend for his signature drink. Sig drink: Belgian chocolate ganache, some sort of powder, his thick milk, and topped with more of the thick milk, hand foamed. Lastly, in goes the espresso. He finishes at 14:58. Great show, Detlev!
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF COLOMBIA
Blanca is adorable right off the bat, speaking in rapid fire Spanish that seems to be giving her translator a workout! She begins by heating coconut and milk in a pan on a hot plate, to which she adds brown sugar. Now she begins her espressos, using a blend of three Colombian coffees representing three different growing regions. Interesting choice of espresso cups: tall, narrow and straight glasses. She pours traditional cappuccinos. Sig drink: she is combining a traditional fruit from Colombia, coconut milk and espresso. She finishes with 10 seconds to spare. Blanca, you were a pleasure to watch!
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF AUSTRALIA
David Makin is SUCH a pro. He’s technically excellent — some would say flawless. It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s a delight in person. Early signature drink prep at judges table: freshly crushed almonds into a pan, with milk added. Second pan: black cherries. He puts them in low heat and takes them away to begin his espresso prep. He’s using the popular Terra cups, and just poured a double tulip on one of his caps! David seems to be speeding up now as he gets into his sig drink… Its a very simple, sophisticated looking drink — no fanfare. David is committed to the coffee above all else—great show, Dave!
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF EL SALVADOR
I first met Lily and her husband Federico when I visited their cafe in San Salvador, and they are simply wonderful people. Lily’s family owns a well respected coffee farm, which is the coffee they have been using in their cafe, Viva Espresso. Interestingly, Lily and Federico just purchased some CoE coffee in the Salvadoran auction, and are now the first producing country retailers to buy CoE coffee and actually keep it in country. Cheers to that. Lily’s espressos look simply decadent. She’s so poised and calm, very impressive. Now she’s finished her caps and the foam looks so thick and smooth… wow. Sig drink: vanilla cream, brown sugar, mix of spices. Lily finishes 10 seconds early and the crowd goes wild. Lily, you rock my world.
NATIONAL CHAMPION OF HONDURAS
ANA LUCIA L. DE HAWIT
Ana Lucia has a secret weapon: Heather Perry is here to assist her! The pair have been eating, drinking, talking, sleeping coffee ever since becoming fast friends when Heather visited Honduras. Ana Lucia is rockin the Terra cups, too, and her caps look lovely. She’s using a Coe winning Honduran coffee for her espresso, and she is very proud of it. Shes using dark chocolate also from Honduras in her sig drink, serving the drink in a decanter. She’s just a joy to watch — bravo, Ana Lucia.
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